Amphibious excavators are similar to standard tracked excavators in that they both have a rotating cab, and boom/stick/bucket assembly for digging and moving material. The amphibious excavator provides added versatility and is also designed for use in swamps, wetlands, rivers, harbors, and many other types of waterways. These excavators are also used to perform a function called dredging. Dredging involves the removal and transport of sediment that is typically located at the bottom of bodies of water such as lakes, harbors, rivers, ponds and other types of water environments.
Besides the typical boom/stick/bucket assembly, amphibious excavators include an amphibious undercarriage, sealed pontoons, and a buoyancy tank which allows the excavator to flow on the surface of the waterway. Also included in the design of this excavator are main hydraulic pumps with traveling motors to help propel the excavator through the water. The added features of this excavator type is what allows this machine to be used in the most demanding water environments.
Excavator SHOOTOUT: Standard vs. Amphibious
Although standard excavators and amphibious excavators are very similar in some respects, the amphibious excavator provides a far greater value because they can do many other tasks that standard excavators cannot handle. Both excavator types are great choices for bulk excavation jobs, track operated, and available in many comparable different sizes. Each excavator type runs on two tracks that allow the weight of the excavator to be distributed more evenly which makes them well suited for soft terrain; and both can be fitted with either a standard length boom/stick assembly or long reach for extending further distances.
The difference is that the amphibious excavator can operate in wet environments that are typical of regions where marshlands, rivers, swamps, wetlands, and many other types of waterways are more common. The standard excavator can operate in water up to 3-ft., while the amphibious excavators are ideal for water up to 6-ft. in depth. Amphibious excavators are also better in environments where soft mud is prevalent.
Amphibious excavators are also a better choice when there is a high risk of exposing an underground water source, which can overcome a standard excavator causing it to become submerged and unretrievable. For any environment that involves water, or the potential for water to emerge, the amphibious excavator is the best choice.